For extreme enduro racer, Barend Erasmus, taking part in the Redbull Romaniacs race in Sibiu, Romania is part of the enjoyment. Visiting this exotic, mountainous country also leaves a great impression in scenery.
Why did you go to Romania?
Sometimes I ask myself, why participate in the Redbull Romaniacs hard enduro?
The answer is simple: “It is an addiction. I enjoy riding my bike in places that seem impossible, pushing my body and mind beyond its limits. To see how far I can push myself.”
At that moment, I ask myself questions like: “What am I doing?”… “Am I crazy? ” I cannot begin to explain the feeling of fulfilment and pride when completing an Extreme Enduro race like Romaniacs. It is a tremendously rewarding feeling.
After finishing in the top 20 in the 2016 Romaniacs, I thought never to do it again.
Yet a week after I got home, I started planning to enter the 2017 race.
Although this year’s race was utterly extreme and taxing, the same thing happened again. I am already looking forward to going to the 2018 race. The more I do this the better I get at riding extreme environments in this type of races.
What is the airport like?
The Sibiu International Airport is reasonably small, surprisingly modern and very sufficient.
Although the staff is friendly and accommodating, they are very strict on security. They want to know everything about you and what you are doing there They check your passport picture ten times to make sure that it is really you on the picture.
What was your first impression of Romania?
When you step out of the airport a whole new world opens up!
There are yellow taxis everywhere waiting to transport tourists to their next destination. To make the experience more fascinating,
the drivers can hardly speak any English. Romania is a very poor country but certainly, a country where you can relax.
The locals are very friendly and look relaxed as they take each day as it comes. They obviously dress differently from us and I find their shoes very fascinating.
Their sneakers have very high soles, more than double of what I am used to in South Africa and the ladies wears funny pointy flat leather shoes also not something that I am used to.
I also find the unique culture with the historically significant landmarks and Medieval architecture very appealing as a tourist.
What Tourist attractions are there in Romania?
I only visited Sibiu and a few surrounding villages where everything looks if it was built hundreds of years ago.
It feels like going back in time straight back to Medieval times, there is nothing modern around there.
There are a lot of tourist attractions in and around Sibiu but because I went to Romania for the Romaniacs Race,
I didn’t get a lot of time to do sightseeing. I personally love the dramatic mountainous scenery, where the race takes place and the coastline on the Black Sea with its picturesque landscapes.
What are the Hotels and Restaurants like in Romania?
In Sibiu, they have beautiful hotels like the Ramada, Continental and the Ibis, where a night’s stay will cost around 70€ to 100€ per person and it include breakfast.
Generally, the rooms are spacious with comfortable beds and air-conditioning. The big showers are roomy enough for two.
The restaurants are reasonably priced and on par with South African restaurants. I found the traditional dishes delightful, the soups are to die for! Since I am a steak lover, my favourite eateries
where The New Yorker and Benjamin Steakhouse. These establishments are a little more expensive. then the others but the meals are worth every cent.
Tell me about your flight to Romania?
According to me the easiest way to get to Sibiu in Romania from South Africa is direct to Munich in Germany and from Munich to Sibiu. Total travelling time, including 1:45-hour wait for the connecting flight to from Munich to Sibiu, was 11:45 hours.
I paid R20 000 for this return flight. Make sure you eat and drink enough during the flight as the restaurants at the airport are extremely expensive. I paid the equivalent of R150.00 for a Croissant and a bottle of water!
Does South Africans need a visa to travel to Romania?
As South Africans, we do need a visa to travel to Romania. Applying for the visa online is fairly trouble-free. Once you submit all required documentation and they will send you the date that you have to go to the Embassy in Pretoria. A week after visiting the Embassy you can collect your passport with the visa at a total cost of R900.00
What about Romania will you always remember?
What humbled me is the people’s acceptance of their meagre lives. They seem satisfied with very little and despite their simple life, they always smile. Once again I realized how fortunate I was.
Would you recommend Romania as a holiday destination?
Yes, I would absolutely recommend Romania to anyone who enjoys travelling and exploring new places. Experiencing the Romanian culture, the mountainous scenery, great architecture and the local’s passion for life makes Romania well worth visiting. If ever I get the opportunity to explore more of Romania, I would gladly do so!
Tell me about Bleed for Isak?
Isak Du Toit is a 24-year young man from Nelspruit. Three years ago, he was just like me. He loved riding his bike enjoyed going out with friends, he lived life to its fullest! Unexpectedly everything changed. First, in 2014, he lost his one eye in an accident at work. In 2015, he got seriously ill and he had a heart transplant at the age of 22. As if that wasn’t enough he was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago!
I met Isak recently his story and positive outlook on life, despite what happened to him, really touched me. Isak gets 4 pints of blood every month and creating awareness for blood donating is something very close to his heart. I have decided to start a campaign to create awareness of the importance of donating blood, there are thousands like Isak who’s lives depends on people donating blood and organs. I urge you, please join hands with us and support this worthy initiative
I choose 28 October for this event because on 28 October 2015 Isak received his new heart, and I feel we should celebrate his life.
I would like to thank all my sponsors that made it possible for me to compete in the 2017 Redbull Romaniacs Race Without you I wouldn’t have been able to go…
The Lowveld community
I appreciate your help – Thank you